Tips for Working With a Recruiter in Nursing

by Staff Writers
• 5 min read

If you are searching for a new job in the nursing field, consider working with a nurse recruiter.

Tips for Working With a Recruiter in Nursing
Credit: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images Plus

If you are searching for a new job in the nursing field, consider working with a nurse recruiter.

Recruiters work on behalf of a company or organization to place qualified candidates in job openings. They manage responsibilities like screening, hiring, and training candidates. A professional recruiter, also called a headhunter, may work within a particular field, such as nursing.

The process of getting a nurse job with a recruiter can save a job seeker time, resources, and unnecessary stress. Recruiters understand that placing a qualified candidate in a position benefits everyone involved.

How Do You Find a Nursing Job With a Recruiter?


Finding Nursing Recruiters

Recruiters scope out job seekers on sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed. Job candidates who hope to stand out online should maintain an updated LinkedIn profile. They should also keep a current resume on sites like Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, and Simply Hired.

Another option to find recruiters for free is by leveraging your professional network. Reaching out to your contacts may help get you in touch with the right recruiter. For those willing to pay a membership fee, job seekers might also consider recruiter directories. This can prove helpful to those in a specialty like nursing or another niche field.

Job seekers should be cautious if they are ever required to pay for recruiting services. There is usually no charge to job candidates for services working with a recruiter. Recruiters receive compensation from clients for placing job candidates. This is usually in the form of a percentage of your first year's salary, paid by the employer.

The following key elements remain critical to building rapport with your recruiter:

  • Connections: Recruiters are well connected in the professional world. Make sure that they put their networking skills to good use.
  • Experience: No one wants to serve as the "guinea pig" for a recruiter's first placement. Look for recruiters with a solid track record in the field.
  • Compensation: Determine whether a recruiter receives payment as a retainer or on contingency. This could affect their motivation to get you a good job versus a great job. They should understand why you might ask how they get paid.
  • Placement Record: As placement encompasses a major part of their job, recruiters should expect to divulge their stats to you, if asked. Seek recruiters with a high success rate.
  • Preferred Contact: Try to streamline communication with your recruiter. Make sure their preferred method (email or phone, for example) matches yours.

Initial Interview With a Nursing Recruiter

Recruiters screen and interview candidates as part of their daily job responsibilities. Many recruiters conduct a phone interview with a job seeker before scheduling an in-person screening. Some prefer to set up a face-to-face meeting right away. As someone looking for a job, a recruiter should put you at ease, prove tactful yet truthful, and share in your job-search approach. Developing rapport now helps your working relationship later.

Your first meeting with a recruiter is an opportunity to discuss your short- and long-term career goals. This will help to ensure a recruiter has the best understanding of the type of job you are seeking. You will also want to discuss your ideal salary and benefits, and your preferred working environment. An experienced recruiter knows that placing you in a good job actually benefits all involved.

The Job Interviewing Process

The process of interviewing for a job through a recruiter differs depending on where and how the recruiter works. In-house recruiters will schedule the job interview between their employer and a potential employee. A recruiter working for an outside agency may direct you to the employer's hiring manager or human resources staff. You should not expect a recruiter to coach you on how to interview for a job, but some will provide general tips.

Most recruiters continue to contribute their services long after you end your initial job interview. The recruiter may check references, submit feedback, and even give an opinion on final selections. On behalf of the job seeker, recruiters also keep candidates informed of the decision-making process. The involvement of a recruiter in the interviewing and selection process may differ from one client to another. Recruiters never make the final decision about who gets hired for a job. You should check for any latest developments with your recruiter once a week.

Should You Look for a Nursing Job With a Recruiter?


Advantages of Working With a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter to find a job can offer many advantages over searching for a job yourself. Recruiters receive a commission from their client for their services based on your salary. This translates to an increased incentive to find you a high-paying job. Placing a qualified candidate could also turn into repeat business between the recruiter and their client. This can provide even more incentive to place you in the right position.

Potential Disadvantages of Working With a Recruiter

While some job seekers swear by working with recruiters, others see the downsides of the process. For a recruiter, earning a salary on commission means that they fail to get paid if they fail to place you; so, they might encourage you to take any job.

A recruiter answers to their client — the employer. It may benefit everyone to find a dream placement; however, a recruiter will always prioritize the employer over the candidate. Additionally, if you need career guidance, you should not expect a recruiter to give too much advice. However, some recruiters do provide general tips on how to present yourself.

Job seekers may also fall victim to strict confidentiality between an employer and a recruiter. Recruiters must uphold limitations if asked by an employer. This may result in them excluding candidates from the screening process. They cannot always divulge these limitations. For example, an employer may instruct recruiters to only pursue candidates with specific qualifications not mentioned in the job descriptions.

Tips for Working With a Recruiter in Nursing

  • Get Familiar

    The first priority is to get to know your recruiter. Make this a priority when building your working relationship. Consider this essential to your success in finding a job.
  • Dress Professionally

    A recruiter may want to meet in person to see how you would present yourself to a potential employer. Dress for the job you want.
  • Thank Them

    Sending a "thank you" can make a lasting impression.
  • Limit Volume

    While sending a blanket email works in some situations, spamming your resume will not produce the desired result. Instead, ensure that your recruiter targets opportunities specific to your experience and interests.

Recruiter FAQs


How many times do you meet with a recruiter, on average?

Recruiters will schedule a welcome interview to get to know you and your job goals. Most recruiters will measure your experience and professionalism before considering you for a position. Unless you discuss an alternative plan with your recruiter, plan to connect on a weekly basis.

What kind of qualifications do recruiters typically have?

A qualified recruiter may study human resources, psychology, sociology, or marketing. All must have exceptional internet, customer service, onboarding, and training skills.

Can you work with multiple recruiters at the same time?

Some job seekers work with multiple recruiters at the same time, though a recruiter may require exclusivity. Many professionals discourage working with more than one recruiter. This sometimes promotes a lack of transparency between candidates and recruiters.

What are the signs of a good recruiter?

Above all else, good recruiters possess strong organizational and communication skills. Recruiters should and always remain professional. You should feel as though your recruiter keeps you informed and stays on top of the jobs they submit for you.

What are the signs of a substandard recruiter?

Substandard recruiters show a lack of organization and possess poor communication skills. Red flags include pressuring a job seeker to take a bad offer, submitting your resume for jobs unrelated to your field, or asking you to lie on your resume.

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